Joint administrators Malcolm Cohen and David Gilbert of BDO business restructuring partners, secured the sale after the firm appointed them on February 9.
BDO said Ashbury had been hit by the recent decline in overall market share of own-label chocolate and rising raw material prices. As a result, its working capital had severely deteriorated, plunging it into financial difficulties.
“We are pleased to have concluded the sale of the business and assets of the group, preserving 236 jobs,” said Cohen.
‘Secure financial footing’
“The sale was the best option to secure the future of the business, enabling it to move forward confidently and on a secure financial footing.”
Baronie said the acquisition provided it with a solid platform to further expand its customer base and product ranges in the UK.
Fons Walder, owner of Baronie, said: “We are very pleased to add the Ashbury product and portfolios to our existing business operations. It fits in our long-term strategic objectives. The transaction marks another important milestone in our group’s history.”
Ashbury Chocolates makes own-label products for retailers across the UK, Europe, and Australia. Customers have included Aldi, Carrefour, Casino and Spar. It was established in 1988.
Kosher and halal
It also produces chocolate and confectionery under its Needlers and Blue Bird brands and is a major producer of kosher and halal certified chocolate.
The firm’s products include bulk and boxed chocolates, wrapped assortments, bars, bags and toffees.
Baronie UK was founded in 1896 and makes Belgian chocolates for an international consumer base. The company acquired Belgian chocolatier Duc d’O in September 2014. It has production sites across Europe in countries including Germany, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland.
The transaction did not affect the status of the Baronie Group of companies as a 100% privately held independent operator, the company said in a statement.